As much as consumers love valuable content, advertisers love it even more. And whether you’re sharing your content on page, on a screen, or through airwaves and cables, there are invaluable software systems out there devoted to helping you manage ad sales and ensure your content hits all targets.
How Important is Ad Sales Software?
A pivotal scene in the AMC series Mad Men revolved around the financial chief of a ’60s-era ad agency being charmed as he held a particular key that would have allowed him and three others to jump ship and start their own agency. Amidst the wooing, an accounts executive casts doubt on how much importance should be put on that financial expert’s role in the new agency.
Mad Men, Season 3, Episode 13
Transcribing dialogue doesn’t do the scene justice, but Creative Director Don Draper rebuts “Do you know how to do what he does?,” a founding partner responds “I don’t,” and the accounts exec looks instantly exhausted by the thought of countless, thankless financial machinations impossible to process by himself. The previously unheralded financial expert is ultimately brought on as a partner with his name on the door … and it’s right about there, at that level of importance and appreciation, that ad sales software should be regarded.
At its most basic, an ad sales management program can track all stages of a sale through a customer relationship management (CRM) system. At its best, it’s a proactive tool that ensures work is done efficiently, effectively, and in step with every move that both your team members and your valued clients make.
Even before the pandemic and its effect on — among many things — face-to-face meetings and collective in-person efforts, sales collaboration tools were taking on an increased importance among sales professionals. LinkedIn had found that 65% used CRM tools, with 97% of those saying the technology was “important” or “very important.” As the world gets back up to speed, those numbers are bound to bounce.
Specialty Software Across The Media Landscape
Most ad sales software systems (including many we’ll explore here) promise cross-media capabilities, with broad, practical features that are easily translatable from one industry to another. Depending on the business you do today — and, of course, the business your ever-growing enterprise hopes to do tomorrow — that widespread scope might be just the thing you need.
What’s important to remember is that these systems are a means for your business. And in many instances, especially in publishing, one software’s narrow, specialized focus can bring sharpened precision that better complements your business and its mission.
In this article, we’ll go industry by industry to spotlight not just the systems that are available, but also the traits and capabilities you should look for and count on.
For any interest you can think of, there are multiple fully devoted and fantastic magazines. And advertisers know better than anyone how this devotion translates to devoted readers. Part of the business is advertisers jockeying against each other for layout position and category-exclusivity and whatever other eye-advantages they can get.
And in this industry, the more niche the interest, the seemingly more magazines you’ll find. Even in the toughest of times, the number of magazines finding a way to thrive is unbelievable!
But when it comes to magazine management software, however, there can be only one.
Perhaps no software is more specialized for its media than Mirabel’s Magazine Manager software. More than 16,000 publications in 22 countries use the magazine platform to cover everything from sales and billing to production and digital marketing data.
In addition to the sales basics, Magazine Manager’s publishing CRM boasts a powerful Pipeline Opportunities module, an intuitive Job Jacket interface for sharing and reviewing, and a multimedia Payment Plus system. Magazine Manager also plays nice with the other applications you rely on, integrating with such products as QuickBooks, Epicor, Sage, Microsoft Dynamics GP, Citrix RightSignature, and Google Calendar and Gmail.
Mirabel’s Marketing Manager suite can be integrated to provide further marketing automation and audience development with tools such as Email Builder, Landing Page Builder, and SEO and SEM programs.
So while Magazine Manager may have started with magazines, the system truly encapsulates — and, for its media customers, enables — all that is exciting about how far magazine media can go.
Maybe their headlines say otherwise, but as an industry, newspapers are always looking for good news. Fortunately, there is a CRM that integrates sales, billing, production, and so much more into a publishing platform that has the newspaper industry specifically in mind.
Those in the newspaper industry will appreciate many of the same Magazine Manager offerings in Newspaper Manager, which is built with, among other benefits, a specially designed classified ad module. Newspaper Manager seamlessly integrates with Adobe InDesign, accommodates complex bulk-buy logistics, and, no matter what stop-the-press change you have to make, can adjust to any size, color, positioning, frequency, or rate modification.
Soon, within both Magazine Manager and Newspaper Manager, subscriptions will be made all the easier with ChargeBrite, a new recurring revenue platform that includes multiple pricing models, product bundles, and unlimited add-ons.
TV / Streaming Video
Every February, football’s biggest game commences so that the latest and sure-to-be-greatest television commercials can have their moment in the sun. These ads don’t just magically appear, however, and there are 364 other days (and thousands upon thousands of other stations and networks) that need their ad-slots filled.
For television, a basic ad sales system should be capable of media planning, financial managing, campaign tracking, and so much more. The TV audience is a captive one, and about the only thing larger than ad budgets are the revenue opportunities for those willing to go beyond the basics and seek out whatever edge they can find.
With a parent company that goes by the name of Comcast, FreeWheel is bound to know a few things about the TV marketplace. Its powerful ad platforms are designed for publishers, advertisers, and media buyers alike, with the company taking particular pride in its recent “A” grades from Pixalate, an ad fraud intelligence and marketing compliance platform, on its Connected TV/OTT Seller Trust Index.
Built for myriad media including broadcast, cable, and national television, WideOrbit’s WO Network aims to simplify the ads sales and commercial processes as much as possible, succeeding in particular with its WO Marketplace. There, buyers just starting to dip their toes in the local broadcast market are warmly welcomed, creating new demand and increasing competition.
Mediafly speaks the language of both the sales and entertainment worlds, talking about revenue-team enablement and centralized, intuitive content-review interfaces with equal reverence. With its acquisition of Presentify, Mediafly’s tools for creating engaging sales content make that relationship all the clearer.
Radio / Streaming Audio
Like television, radio has come a long way over the years, continuing to evolve and adapt in consumer-thrilling ways while staying true to many of its traditional broadcast roots. Some of the best ad sales platforms embrace that challenge, offering features that address, streamline, and simplify at every point throughout the creation of a spot.
The company’s vision was locked in decades ago when computers first began automating radio. Since then, Wedel has worked with more than a thousand stations, perfecting a suite of MediaSales products that cover CRM, Traffic and Billing, network balancing, analytics, scheduling, rights management, and campaign planning.
Entirely browser-based and offering full integration between sales CRM and Traffic and Billing, Radio Workflow’s all-in-one, customizable management platform offers industry-specific services like spot separation, voice clashing, priority placements, and a log/clock editor. It even promises AI advancements and complex algorithms that work to learn from data and predict future sales opportunities.
Slotted here as much for being a Spotify case study as anything else, Salesforce is a major CRM player in a wide range of industries. Spotify used the cloud automation software for collaborating to hit sales targets as well as cultivating its much-beloved customer experience. But a company doesn’t have to be Spotify-sized to benefit from the feature functions offered by Salesforce, which includes automated administrative tasks, lead management, and sales forecasting.
Coke and Pepsi. Microsoft and Apple.
Facebook and Google.
The behemoths in the digital ads universe both bring unique specialties to the table — simplified to the extreme by WordStream in differentiating Google Ads as “paid search” and Facebook Ads as “paid social” — but their individual approaches speak to the greatest lesson one can find in the digital landscape and the ad sales industry as a whole: know your audience.
Many digital ad sales companies have a solid foundation in display advertising, mobile advertising, social media advertising, video advertising, and even cross-channel advertising, offering practical means and compelling tools for navigating numerous ever-changing digital spaces. The firmer your grasp on who your audience is, the easier it’ll be to know which software can help guide your specific journey.
Here are just a few other examples:
ADvendio’s Salesforce-powered CRM is designed not just for digital services, but for streaming and print as well. It offers full cross-media advertising support and seamless integrations to the top demand-side platforms, supply-side platforms, and programmatic exchanges.
Basis complements automation with what they call “holistic media management” for a highly rated demand-side platform versed in direct, programmatic, search, and social media. The platform is the creation of Centro, whose advertising products excel in native, mobile, video, and even retargeting advertising.
Designed for smaller businesses and solopreneurs, HoneyBook brings CRM solutions to those who might truly need all the management help and resources they can get. The gig economy spectrum includes all levels of media professionals — from independent contractors to multi-hyphenate freelancers to hopeful influencers — and so long as the hustle continues to be real, so too should be the tools to help find success.
Ad Sales Software is Just the Beginning
These are just a few of the many ad sales management systems designed to do it all within your media industry. (And this doesn’t even include the more specialized software that can help no matter what medium you’re looking to revolutionize, such as Crystal, a platform for personality profiling and predictive playbooks, and Chorus, a transcription technology that analyzes calls and allows for larger collaboration.)
In the end, ad sales software is that indispensable team member designed not just to handle your CRM tasks, but empower the rest of the team to do what they do best. Before committing to any management system, take it as an opportunity to talk as a team and consider the larger gameplan and management strategies that would work for everyone. Maybe a simple invoicing program is the last puzzle piece; more likely, a fresh start with a game-changing system is just what your team and your business needs.
You don’t have to put the software’s name on the door and make it a partner, but you’d be mad not to embrace its capabilities within your industry.
If you’d like to know more about Magazine Manager, Mirabel’s Marketing Manager, or Mirabel’s DigitalStudio, request a free demo.